Middle Eastern Scale: Theory & Ear Training


Enjoy this delicious-sounding scale from the Middle East…

… yet another example proving that scales are not made of “half-steps” and “whole-steps”.


Here, for example, are the notes in the C Middle Eastern Scale identified by letter name, scale degree (numbers), and Solfege syllable…

  1. The scale structure of the Middle Eastern Scale is always 1-b2-3-4-5-b6-7-1, no matter what key you are in.
  2. The Solfege syllables of the Middle Eastern Scale are always Do-Ra-Mi-Fa-So-Le-Ti-Do, no matter what key you are in.
  3. The only thing that changes when you change keys are the letter names.

Comparative Scale Study

Play and sing the Middle Eastern Scale and Major Scale side-by-side…

insert graphic

and notice the dramatic effect created by changing two notes: Ra instead of Re and Le instead of La. Notice how these unique tensions allow you to create a whole new kind of music, a very exotic sound that is instantly recognizable!

The Middle Eastern Scale in Action

Hava Nagila

Improvisation by Frank Peter

Solfege Ear Training

It is absolutely essential that you sing these out loud… and to play and sing slowly enough to allow the unique sound-feeling of each solfege syllable to make an impression on your mind’s ear.

C Middle Eastern Scale: Linear, Ascending…


C Middle Eastern Scale: Linear, Descending…


C Middle Eastern Scale: Do-X-Do, Ascending…


C Middle Eastern Scale: Do-X-Do, Descending…


learn more… Japanese Scale: Theory & Ear Training